Do you struggle to sleep well? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you woke up feeling refreshed from sleep, or is your snoring driving your partner crazy – or worse, driving them out of the bedroom altogether?
You might be one of the estimated 12 to 18 million people – in the US alone! – who suffer from a chronic sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. You’ve probably heard the term, or maybe even know someone who has been diagnosed with the condition. But what is it exactly? According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), sleep apnea is a condition in which you experience breathing “pauses” when you sleep. These can last between just a few seconds, to a terrifying few minutes (try holding your breath for a few minutes and you’ll understand why this is a scary idea). After such an event your body’s natural instinct to keep you alive will kick in, meaning you’ll take a breath, but it might sound more like a choking sound.
Symptoms can vary between people, and you can be diagnosed from mild to very severe sleep apnea. However there are a number of general symptoms that doctors keep an eye out for when considering a sleep apnea diagnosis.